Have you ever had a gut feeling? Of course you have. And it is very probable that, more often than not, any time you chose to “follow your gut” in a given manner, things likely worked out very well for you. And how many times have you opted to ignore your gut, only to find yourself in a predicament, one where, after all was said and done, you berated yourself for failing to listen to that inner voice saying, “I knew it, I knew, I knew it!…”?
Intuition. Perception through extrasensory means. The sixth sense. Whatever one chooses to call this faculty, it is one we all possess. The line of demarcation is in how attuned we are to information of this nature when it is presented, how accurately we interpret its meaning, and how consistently and efficaciously we apply it in our lives.
It is highly unlikely that the means of intuitive insight are the result of any sort of supernatural or otherwise inexplicable origin. Just as the five commonly acknowledged senses are all based in the physical, so too must this heightened perceptual ability be grounded in the corporeal.
One hypothesis (and, perhaps, the most mundane) is that intuition is simply the result of an unconscious awareness on our part through the observation of common everyday environmental signals or patterns that, because they are so common, tend to go unnoticed by the conscious eye and mind. When intuiting and interacting with other people specifically, it is posited that we perceive and respond instinctually to the myriad of all but undetectable facial behavioral tells known as microexpressions. Moving along this avenue of supposition, what you see, even if you don’t know that you see it, is what you get.
Another and, to my way of thinking at least, more intriguing possibility is the gut itself. Dr. Michael D. Gershon relates in his book THE SECOND BRAIN that the neural pathways in the human intestinal tract are so numerous and complex that the enteric nervous system (ENS) is capable of functioning independent of the central nervous system (CNS). Dr. Deepak Chopra has opined that a gut feeling originating in the ENS is quite simply every cell in the human body making a decision. Though there is currently no hard and fast evidence to support an unqualified declaration that the ENS is endowed with a consciousness that is in any way comparable to that operative in the “first brain,” is it possible that this “second brain” which we all possess is capable of a form of autonomous “thinking” that, in tandem with the CNS and the Human brain, contributes to a fuller perception and sensate awareness of things seen and unseen?
There is yet another possibility. Perhaps our thoughts are not our own.
The Human Microbiome Project, a multi-disciplinary medical research program initiated in 2008, has compiled some rather startling (and some would say disturbing) findings regarding the makeup of the human body and the microorganisms that are present in the very fiber and filament of our earthly transits, not the least of which is the fact that, for every Human cell a body contains, it is outnumbered by a factor of no less than 10 to 1 by microbes of various make and model. Percentage wise, we are 10% human and 90% microbe. The greatest portion of this microbial mass is bacterial in origin; the average Human body contains between two and six POUNDS of bacteria and other microorganisms in and on its surface, with the majority of this bacteria contained in the digestive system. We are not just Human beings; we are veritable ambulatory self-contained ecosystems.
Before proceeding further, let me put any overwrought minds at ease – these bacteria are absolutely critical for the function and maintenance of the Human body. Without them, we would die, plain and simple. The synthesis of needed vitamins, reducing our susceptibility to infectious disease, and the growth stimulation of needed critical lymphatic tissues are just a few of the necessary functions these tiny friends perform in the continuance of our species.
The full extent of our relationship to and dependence upon bacteria for our survival has yet to be explored but continues to expand with each scientific discovery. For instance, we have always been admonished to get outside more often and be in nature for the benefit of our health. But are you aware that exposure to certain bacteria (Mycobacterium vaccae) found in the great outdoors may well make you smarter?
Another very interesting recent discovery about this unseen world within each of us is the fact that bacteria have the ability to communicate, not only with members of their own “tribe” but with bacterial species other than their own. Bacteria are aware of their surroundings and aware of their neighbors, cognizant of changes in their environment and responsive as a group to those changes. What I wonder is this: can these organisms, which are undeniably as much a part of us as our bones and our brains, communicate with us? Can the intuition and insight which our very language positions as being in our gut have as their point of origin a collective life form with billions of years of history on this planet? Can we understand and in turn communicate with them through hormonal and enzymatic secretions resulting from our emotional and mental states at any given moment? Are they us and are we them?
All language is symbolic, whether it be written, auditory, or otherwise; chemical language is no different. The language of chemistry communicates to our bodies how to move, to heal, to reproduce, to digest, to adapt. It is not inconceivable that we are equipped and adept at eavesdropping on the group mind that resides on us and deep within our viscera as it/they respond in kind to chemical thoughts and questions we unknowingly present to them.
Do I think the microbiome exerts a conscious influence over our actions? No. Their goal is survival and continuity, and they have billions of years of precedent to vouch for their success in the achievement this goal. Any actions they take will be solely to that end. Do I believe the microbiome to be the singular locus of Human intuition? No, in fact, I think it more likely that the intuitive sixth sense is a combination of all three of the previously discussed options: unconscious awareness, the enteric nervous system, and the microbiome, all three performing in concert with the aware conscious mind to achieve apparently improbable results.
A fifth ingredient yet to be added to the stew is that of spatial energy. What do I mean by this? Spatial energy (for want of a better term) is that spatial/temporal displacement/non-displacement that exists between even the smallest subatomic particles that may well be the informing and energetic potential that is the binding and enlivening force of creation. Spatial energy must surely contain information and/or itself be a conduit for such information. Again, nothing supernatural is suggested here, just a function of physics as yet to be understood. But that is another topic for another day.
I am certain that many a doctoral thesis could be researched and authored on the role of the microbiome and its cognitive interaction and function in the Human arena. Perhaps, one day, I’ll have the opportunity to read such a thesis and find my intuition on the matter validated.
So, there you have it. How did I arrive at this most unusual theory? A little bacterium told me…
©Billy Red Horse